Clouds, Tags, and "User Innovation Toolkits"

Anchor for this item  posted Monday, March 31, 2008 at 1:57 pm MST

* cut/paste draft *

A conversation with Ed Vielmetti and John Blyberg about patrons and superlibrarians - Jon Udell/blog.jonudell.net:

"February 2, 2007: "Last fall, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, I gave a talk entitled Superpatrons and Superlibrarians. Joining me for this week’s podcast are the two guys who inspired that talk. The superpatron is Ed Vielmetti, an old Internet hand who likes to mash up the services proviced by the Ann Arbor District Library. That’s possible because superlibrarian John Blyberg, who works at the AADL, has reconfigured his library’s online catalog system, adding RSS feeds and a full-blown API he calls PatREST.

I’ve written from time to time about Eric von Hippel’s notion of user innovation toolkits and the synergistic relationship between users and developers that can develop around such toolkits. [...]"


"Chatting with Jon Udell and Ed Vielmetti" - John Blyberg / blyberg.net:

"I had a great chat with Jon Udell and Ed Vielmetti last week during a recorded podcast that Jon has made available on his new blog. Jon is a great podcaster--he has the ability to make a session feel like a conversation and less like an interview which makes for a very interesting and enjoyable experience as one of the participants.

Anyway, we talked about superlibrarians and superpatrons within the context of Eric Von Hippel’s notion of "lead users." This is an area that should be of great interest to libraries--specifically, how do we identify those lead users, then enable them to mash-up, remix, and create services, tools, and content."


Sam Lawrence's Go Big Always - Tweetclouds reveal even more about people -

"I just finished another cut-n-paste-a-thon. In February it focused on scraping out a couple of month’s worth of blog posts and jptweets1.jpg pasting them into Many Eyes to create "real" tag clouds based on actual content instead of the author’s bookmarking.

This time, I was scraping a month’s worth of Tweets."

My reply there:

"Re: "real" tag clouds based on actual content instead of ..." A noble sentiment!

A couple of days ago (yesterday?) Peter Westwood released a cloud of contributers to WordPress 2.5. Brilliantly parsimonious, yes? (I would have left the numbers off because it's dealing with individuals but *shrug*.) What I saw as absent is how the cloud could be used as an interface / portal to richer information. (For me most everything is a dashboard ... "mandala theory", doncha know.)

I visited TagCrowd.com ... *plop-plop fizz-fizz* after providing the URL for my project’s quasi-bibliography I became the proud father of a sweet/primitive data-based cloud. (I’ve tweaked the font sizes there; TagCrowd really should offer min/max as a configuration item.)

All of this is great fun. But ... where’s the beef?
It’s cute. And it’s totally dead-ended. (Tranform a "silo" into a planter so as to allow the tree to shoot up out of it?)

I’m reminded of my first sessions using PsychLit; with so much functionality, there just has to be a way of having it jump up and make toast. I optimized my PsychLit searches and was handsomely rewarded.
Looking at clouds, pondering VRML and visualizations of multivariate analysis, I can’t help thinking that we’re just one step away from some very richly interactive information.

My point is this: ATM clouds seem to me to be data, rather than information. I suspect we will be handsomely rewarded when we transform them by enriching them with another layer of interactivity. Or two.

I can see a way of using them as ?what? a partial product ... the interim step in a process that finds who’s like who, or which document is like which others ... comparing clouds in a cloudy sky, if you will. ("CloudySky" ... a good name for a software suite?)


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